Body mass index or BMI is a tool that is used to measure how fat a person is. It is a person’s weight compared to height. It tells us how a person’s weight can affect his/her risk of some chronic illnesses like diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. A person’s weight alone does not show the risk. BMI tells us how much weight a person’s body has in a small area.
BMI is the ratio of height to weight. If two people weigh 200lb, but one person is 5ft and the other is 6ft, it means that the person who is 5ft has a higher BMI than the person who is 6ft with the same weight. The person with higher BMI carries more weight in a small area than the person who has a lower BMI. The person who is 5 ft then has more BMI and carries more risk for chronic diseases.
It is not known exactly why people with higher BMI are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. It is thought that obesity may cause insulin resistance. It is possible that the more body mass there is in an area, the more difficult it is for insulin to move sugar adequately from the blood to the tissues. The BMI can actually be used as a body fat calculator because in many people high BMI is caused by the accumulation of fat
The table below is a BMI chart that can be used to find the body mass index of a person. It works almost like the pantyhose size selection tool. All you have to do is find the height and weight of a person. Then match the height in the left column, which is marked with the word “Height (Inches)”. Across, you can find the weight, in pounds. The “Weight (Pounds)”, though labeled on the right hand side, are the many numbers that run across each height on the left column in bold. The number on top of each column is the BMI for that weight and height.
Source: Clinical Guidelines on the Identification, Evaluation, and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults, National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, September 1998.
* Without Shoes
If your BMI is high, there are things that you can do to reduce it
to as close to normal as possible. This will mainly involve exercise programs
and diet plans.
It means that you will have to participate in any of the available weight loss plans. Your primary physician can help you determine which of the weight loss plans that is good for you. You need to exercise to burn fat.
Another thing you can do is to get on one of the diet plans that will reduce caloric intake, while letting you maintain a well-balanced, nutritious diet. Introducing diet plans to normalize BMI is like placing yourself on a pre-diabetic diet plan.The doctor may refer you to a dietitian who will help you choose which of the diet plans is right for you. The American Diabetes Association exchange diet is great for people who are on a diet, so you can see what you can use to introduce variety in your diet plan. This can be found in Create Your Plate.
Apart from BMI, a person’s risk for diabetes in terms of weight can be measured by measuring the person’s waist to get the waist circumference or abdominal girth. The more the measurement around the abdomen, the higher there is a chance for diabetes.
The normal waist for women is 35 inches or less and for men, it is 40 inches or less. The more this measurement is over 35 inches fr women and over 40 inches for men, the higher the chance that the person will develop obesity related diseases like diabetes type 2.
This waist measurement does not actually tell if someone is obese, but it shows how much fat you have around the abdomen, which increases the health risk more than the fat in other parts of the body.
To measure the waist circumference or abdominal girth, use a measurement tape and wrap around the waist at midline of the abdomen. Sometimes the waistline is obvious as the thinnest part of the abdomen. The number is read off the measurement tape.
Getting your BMI below 25 and your waist measurement below 35 inches for women,
and below 40 inches for the men, will greatly contribute to decrease your type 2 diabetes risk.
It is important to combine diet and exercise in order to get to optimal BMI. You also need to monitor your BMI frequently in order to know how your plan is working and what is successful
Limitation of BMI Chart
When using BMI chart to estimate how much fat a person is, it is important to understand that this may not work well in very muscular or high fat people. In very muscular people, their BMI may be lower than that calculated with BMI chart because a higher percentage of their weight is muscle, not fat. Also some people may have higher percentage of fat, which means that their real BMI is higher than that calculated using the BMI chart.
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